14-year-old Abila lives with his parents in Kibera, an area near Nairobi and one of the biggest slums in East Africa. One entirely ordinary morning, the boy finds his father sick and apparently deranged. Huddled in a corner, the father mumbles that his soul has been stolen. Abila, confused and shocked, tries to help him and goes in search of a possible cure. With the aid of his girlfriend Shiku, he discovers that his father gambled away his soul to a female witchdoctor.
Soul Boy was made on a shoestring budget between 2008 and 2009. Besides One Fine Day Films, project partners for the pilot phase were: Ginger Ink, Goethe-Institut Nairobi, ARRI Munich, and the international film festivals in Rotterdam and Göteborg.
The film was made in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi, by a team led by Tom Tykwer. This team was made up of a small number of professional crew members and a much larger group of young trainees. Together with Tom Tykwer, Kenyan author Billy Kahora, developed the film idea, which translates the secrets and myths of this multilayered social microcosm into a story that combines a modern-day narrative with supernatural elements. The young Ghanaian-Kenyan filmmaker Hawa Essuman (born 1980) directed the film. Casting for the film took place over the entire city; budding young actors and actresses were sought in several slums. One week of preparation had to suffice to prepare for the 13 days of shooting.
Hawa Essuman, color, 57 min., 2009-10
Co-presented with Goethe Institut
Black Cinema House
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